Don’t Let the Dogs Bite on Halloween

Halloween is a time for parties, friendly pranks and trick-or-treating. But only the Jack O’ Lanterns should bear their teeth on Halloween. Dogs may become agitated by trick-or-treaters coming to the door in masks and costumes and react by biting. Don’t let that happen. Take steps to prevent a Halloween dog bite!

Some 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year, and 20 percent of those incidents are serious enough to require medical attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Half of dog-bite victims are children. With costumed children invading your front step and doorway on Halloween, it’s important to take extra precautions to avert dog bites.

Dog owners should take these steps on Halloween, according to doggone safe.

  • Security is crucial: Keep your dog in a garage, behind a closed door or in a locked kennel away from the door where trick-or-treaters will be knocking or ringing the bell. If a party is planned at your home, keep the dog away from children.
  • Give the dog a treat: Check with your veterinarian on safe and nutritious chews for dogs that will keep them preoccupied for an extended period.
  • Mask sounds at the front door: Turn on music or a TV in the room where your dog is being kept to cover the sounds being made at the front door.
  • Disconnect doorbells: If your dog barks at the ringing sound, either disconnect it or keep an eye out for trick-or-treaters to keep them from ringing or knocking on the door.
  • Avoid excitement: Young dogs are likely to get excited or confused by costumes, especially if they have long parts dangling or dragging. Supervise dogs closely if they start playing with children’s costumes. If they start nipping, instruct children to stand as still as a tree.
  • Don’t let the dogs out: At Halloween, dogs and cats are likely to be stolen or poisoned in pranks and rituals. Keep them inside.

Children and parents should follow these dog safety tips:

  • Steer clear: If you hear a dog barking or see it pacing behind a door, avoid that house. Do the same if you see a dog tied up in the yard or hear it barking behind a fence.
  • Mistaken identity: Even if you know a dog, don’t approach it because it might not recognize you in a costume.
  • Dog at the door: Stand still if a homeowner opens the door and the dog is right there. Tell them you don’t want to get close to the dog and wait for them to come to you to hand out candy. Don’t leave until they close the door.
  • On the loose: Stand still with your hands in front and watching your feet, if you see a dog running free. Wait for the owner to retrieve it before you walk away. If the owner doesn’t arrive, wait until the dog leaves before you turn to go.
  • Ignore dogs: Avoid pets that are out walking with their owners on Halloween. They might get excited by costumed children and react by biting.

Make sure your Halloween is safe and accident-free by following these tips and other precautions. The facts in each dog attack must be evaluated to determine specifically how Georgia premises liability law applies. But homeowners may be held responsible if a trick-or-treater is injured on their property by a dog bite. If you are injured by a dog’s bite, contact an experienced attorney who can advise you on how to file a claim and obtain compensation for injuries.